Prison

Brian Banks, football player exonerated in rape case, signs with Atlanta Falcons

I’ve followed then 16 year-old Brian Banks’ rape case from beginning to end.  It’s a heartbreaking story that appears to be headed toward a happy ending.

CBS News

Brian Banks said signing with the Atlanta Falcons is his second-biggest accomplishment.

The biggest was Banks’ exoneration of rape charges one year ago.

Banks, 27, signed with the Falcons on Wednesday, giving him an opportunity he said he did not believe would be possible when he spent five years in prison and five years on probation following his conviction of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago.

“I felt at the time in order for me to exit prison with a sane mind and be able to just function as a person I had to let go of certain dreams and goals I once held in life, football being one of them,” Banks said.

Banks said he “couldn’t have asked for a better place to be” than with the Falcons.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” he said. “It’s surreal.”

Banks was a 16-year-old junior and had made a verbal commitment to sign with Southern Cal when Wanetta Gibson, a Long Beach Poly high school classmate accused him of the rape.

Gibson recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name after he was out of prison. That helped lead to the conviction being overturned by a California court and Banks’ record cleared on May 12, 2012.

Banks’ original defense attorney, Elizabeth Harris, declined to talk to “60 Minutes” as did Gibson, who has not returned the money she won in her lawsuit.

Banks said he read every book he could find while in prison and also learned to value every opportunity.

Continue reading here...

 

Video of the accuser telling someone Brian never raped here:

 

Handcuffed Man Shot And Killed In Cop Car – Police Say It Was Suicide (VIDEO)

It was during the politically sanctioned “law and order” phase of our government when Nixon, Reagan, and Bush (1) touted the “war on crime” mantra that many cops were never charged  for incidents such as this one even after internal investigations.

Most officers that did go before a grand jury or judge  obtained acquittals of any wrong doing when a minority suspect turned up dead while on their way to jail or in jail….

Addicting Info

A young African-American man in Jonesboro, AR died of a gunshot wound to the head while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car.

Chavis Carter was arrested for alleged drug possession and for missing a court date on previous drug charges.

Sergeant Lyle Waterworth of the Jonesboro police department, stated that Carter was “handcuffed, double locked and searched” for weapons. Still, the officer claims, Carter managed to shoot himself in the head after a “thump” was heard from the back of the squad car.

Carter’s mother, Teresa, isn’t buying the story. First, she claimed that her son was searched twice. She said that he was left-handed, but was shot in the right temple. She also said that he had called his girlfriend after he got pulled over and told her he’d call her from jail. She believes her son was killed.

The incident is under investigation. The officer is on leave.

Here’s the video…

Alabama Judge Rebukes Private Correctional Company For Running ‘Debtors Prison’

I can’t believe that in these economic times for middle class and low income workers, that this exists at all.  Are we in France during the 16th century as in… Les Misrables?

Think Progress

In 2010, four residents of Harpersville, Alabama filed suit against several local officials and private prison company Judicial Corrections Services, alleging that they were illegally imprisoned in the Shelby County jail.

The charges were alarming: the four inmates claim low income defendants are routinely denied adequate counsel, are not advised on their constitutional rights and — most egregiously — are saddled with outrageously high fines and bond rates that the indigent have no way of paying.

On Wednesday, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington handed down his decision, and tore into the defendants:

When viewed in a light most favorable to Defendants, their testimony concerning the City’s court system could reasonably be characterized as the operation of a debtors prison. The court notes that these generally fell into disfavor by the early 1800′s, though the practice appears to have remained common place in Harpersville. From a fair reading of the defendants’ testimony one night ascertain that a more apt description of the Harpersville Municipal Court practices is that of a judicially sanctioned extortion racket. Most distressing is that these abuses have been perpetrated by what is supposed to be a court of law. Disgraceful.

Judge Harrington goes on say that defendants appearing before the Harpersville Municipal Court are “subjected to repeated and ongoing violations of almost every safeguard afforded by the Unite[d] States Constitution, the laws of Alabama and the Rules of Criminal Procedure.”

At issue are the fines that JCS is authorized to impose if an individual convicted of a crime is not immediately able to pay the imposed fine. That person is placed on “probation,” and JCS begins to collect an additional $35 fee every day the individual does not pay in full his or her penalty. If the mounting debt is not paid, JCS forwards the case back to the court and the person is imprisoned for “probation violations” with no adjudication.

The ruling, which enjoined the court and JCS from further imprisoning probation violators and added a 30 day grace period for individuals to pay off a court-ordered penalty before JCS begins to charge their $35 fee, highlights yet another problem with states’ growing reliance on private companies to run corrections services.

In Florida, lawmakers who accepted thousands of dollars from private prison companies have passed legislation to expand private prison contracts, in Arizona Governor Jan Brewer acceptedmore than $60,000 from another private prison company in exchange for favorable legislation, and in Pennsylvania, a judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison after it was revealed he channeled hundreds of young people into privately run juvenile detention facilities in exchange for lofty payouts.

AZ review shows private prisons cost more. So legislature ends the study.

This is typical of GOP deception.  If it doesn’t fit the narrative, quash it, deny it or ignore it.

Daily Kos

If you’re a state hellbent on turning corrections over to the for-profit prison industry, what do you do when an annual survey shows that private jails are often more expensive than the old fashioned public variety? Especially if, by law, the state may contract for private prisons only if they prove to be less expensive? Simple, just eliminate that pesky study.

Buried in the $8.6 billion budget proposal passed at the state Capitol this week is a plan to “eliminate the requirement for a quality and cost review of private prison contracts.” It means there would no longer be an annual review of how private prisons operate.CBS5.com

The corrections industry in Arizona is enjoying a good ride. They’ve been held harmless in the last two state budgets, while education, healthcare, and every other public service has been cut off at the knees. Along with its budget, the corrections cartel’s political power has increased. Tucson Citizen’s Cell-Out AZ has lotsa dirt, like raiding mortgage settlement funds for prisons. The industry’s biggest legislative win, of course, was SB 1070, which the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) helped craft and pass, alongside ALEC. It’s not like the incarceration industry has a financial interest or anything, since SB 1070, if implemented as written, would provide them a heckuva lot more customers.

One might ask why the legislature ended an annual review of private prisons, less than two years after three inmates escaped from the Kingman facility run by Management & Training Corporation (MTC). A nationwide manhunt ended in their capture, but not before the men, two of whom were convicted killers, hijacked an Oklahoma couple’s car and trailer in New Mexico, shot them at a rest stop and burned their bodies in the trailer. Immediately after this tragedy, there were loud calls to clean up the crappy security at Kingman — and all prisons statewide. This Arizona Republic story, titled “Arizona Prison Oversight Lacking for Private Facilities,” was typical:

[The three convicts] took advantage of lax security and faulty alarms to escape on July 30, 2010, from the Kingman prison, run by Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah. The men cut their way out using tools McCluskey’s cousin and fiancee, Casslyn Welch, had tossed over the fence. Arizona Republic

Continue reading here…

Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 A Minute For Phone Calls While They Work For $1 A Day

I understand that corporations exist to make profits, but at least pay your “employees” enough to pay for things that you charge them.

Five days of work gives them enough for a one minute phone call.  That’s absurd.  Essentially, the inmates are slaves, based upon that calculation.

Think Progress

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America(CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

Watch this report on the conditions Stewart detainees face:

CCA’s abuse doesn’t stop at outrageously priced phone services. One woman reported that her diabetic husband does not receive enough food, so she has to deposit money for him to buy more. Occupy Nashville recently protested outside of the company by holding a “human auction” to illustrate how CCA profits off of human suffering.

As Alternet points out, in the past few years, CCA has spent $14.8 million “lobbying for anti-immigration laws to ensure they have continuous access to fresh inmates and keep their money racket going.” Recent anti-immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia keep their facilities full and CCA profits high.

Since more prisoners translate into more profit, private prisons like CCA continually push lawmakers to enact harsher policies and longer sentences, according to a report by Justice Policy Institute (JPI).

Sheriff Arpaio’s misspent jail funds could exceed $100M

Arizona Daily Star

Maricopa County Manager David Smith expects the amount of jail funds inappropriately spent by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office to exceed $100 million.

Smith says in a letter Monday to federal prosecutors that the current $99.5 million total of misspending over eight years is likely to increase as the final six months of financial records are examined.

The money came from a sales tax dedicated to running jails and a fund for running the commissary that sells household items to inmates.

Sheriff’s officials blame the error on an outdated payroll system.

The county had sent its earlier analysis of the jail money to federal authorities who are already investigating Arpaio for abuse-of-power allegations.

Sheriff’s official Jack MacIntyre says many people in county government expected the total to exceed $100 million.

Related articles

Man loses his job after Chase bank has him arrested for cashing their own check

If this story doesn’t make you angry, then nothing can make you angry…

Crooks & Liars

Lynda Bryon at KING-5 News in Seattle has the story, ably summed up at The Consumerist:

Ikenna [Njoku], a 28-year old construction worker, went to deposit a $8,463.21 Chase cashier’s check at his local Chase branch, only for the teller to decide that neither he nor his check looked right and he got tossed in jail for forgery, KING5 reports. The next day, a Friday, the bank realized its mistake and left a message with the detective. But it was her day off, so he spent the entire weekend in jail.

By the time he got out, he had been fired from his job for not showing up to work. His car had been towed as well. It ended up getting sold off at auction because he couldn’t afford to get it out of the pound. He had been relying on that cashier’s check for his money but it was taken as evidence and by the time he got it back it was auctioned off.

All this while the cashier’s check had been issued by the very bank he was trying to cash it at.

Chase didn’t even apologize, not even after a year. A lawyer volunteered to help write a strongly-worded letter requesting damages. After trying hard to get a response, they sent KING 5 a two-sentence reply: “We received the letter and are reviewing the situation. We’ll be reaching out to the customer.”

I dunno about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if he had been another color, none of this would have happened. Auburn is not a lily-white suburb by any means, but the man’s description of her questions raises all kinds of red flags.

Meanwhile, I just love being at the mercy of the people who run the financial-services sector, don’t you?

Private Prisons Spend Millions On Lobbying To Put More People In Jail

One can say that today, all the posts on TFC  have something in common: reporting on corporate malfeasance aided by political and judicial collusion.

Think Progress

Yesterday, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) released a report chronicling the political strategies of private prison companies “working to make money through harsh policies and longer sentences.” The report’s authors note that while the total number of people in prison increased less than 16 percent, the number of people held in private federal and state facilities increased by 120 and 33 percent, correspondingly. Government spending on corrections has soared since 1997 by 72 percent, up to $74 billion in 2007. And the private prison industry has raked in tremendous profits. Last year the two largest private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group — made over $2.9 billion in revenue.

JPI claims the private industry hasn’t merely responded to the nation’s incarceration woes, it has actively sought to create the market conditions (ie. more prisoners) necessary to expand its business.

According to JPI, the private prison industry uses three strategies to influence public policy: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and networking. The three main companies have contributed $835,514 to federal candidates and over $6 million to state politicians. They have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct lobbying efforts. CCA has spent over $900,000 on federal lobbying and GEO spent anywhere from $120,000 to $199,992 in Florida alone during a short three-month span this year. Meanwhile, “the relationship between government officials and private prison companies has been part of the fabric of the industry from the start,” notes the report. The cofounder of CCA himself used to be the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Continue reading here…

Man Robs Bank of One Dollar

Someone once said that desperate times call for desperate measures.  However, I honestly think this fella took the phrase a bit too literally…

The Daily Beast

Richard James Verone allegedly walked into a bank and handed a note to the teller saying he was armed and demanding a single dollar. He then sat down and waited for the police to arrive. “He’s sitting on the sofa as you walk in the front door,” the teller said in the 911 call. Verone, who was unarmed, demanded such a small amount because he wasn’t interested in making money; he wanted to get sent to prison, so he could receive health care to treat a growth in his chest and two ruptured disks. “I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic, what I came up with,” Verone said in a jailhouse interview. “If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care, then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care.”  He appears in court June 28.

Read it at ABC News